“Have you seen a microscope?”
I am a medical student who has already completed one tough year in a premier institute of India, involving so many study hours and work in the labs and dissection halls and the teacher now insults me along with all everyone else in the room with this question.
“Have you ever used a microscope?” she adds to the insult. She then continues to explain the parts if the microscope and its uses. Listen, lady, I have been studying about this since class IX, and have known about it way back when I was a little kid and have used it many, many times.
And all the flatterers seated at the first-row nod in approval and agree with every word the teacher was saying- all about something that we all know as long as anyone could remember. And to add to the drama, most people here still don’t know how to focus! Even the teachers sometimes casually remark that none of the students know how to focus even after attending so many classes on this. But doesn’t that put them at fault as well?They’re the ones teaching us un the first place, right? Everyone is at fault here.
People are always wondering what is wrong with our education system. We rarely come up with an answer for that and even if someone has an answer, well nothing ever gets done around here, does it?
Regardless; I was just pondering over things during this pointless class:
Consider sex education. The most realistic about this topic discussed in my school years was about the use of condoms and STD’s. What about porn, rape and everything else? Things we get to hear every day. Everybody knows about all this and yet not a word is written on these topics in our prescribed texts. When you’re given the impression that no one is supposed to discuss these issues in our homes and even in class, it’s safe to say that sex education is going nowhere in this country. Many even condone the act of uttering anything related to this topic, even though it is simply a natural part of our lives. Look at yourselves. Look at your body. Sex is an integral part of our lives and we must have the maturity to accept it as it should be.
This is not only about the microscope but I’ll use the instrument as an example. How many times are you going to say the same thing over and over again!?
- Class VI to Class VIII– What is a microscope.
- Class IX– parts and use of a microscope.
- HS, Class XI, and XII– Again, what is a microscope, its part and its use (very limited).
- Medical School, 1st Year– What is a microscope, its part and uses. And also really using the instrument a LOT in histology, hematology, and even biochemistry.
- Medical School, 2nd Year– What is a fuckin’ microscope!?
And it doesn’t end there. We even had two whole classes on this topic- one in the Microbiology Department and another one in the Pathology Department. In Pathology, the students even went to the extent of fiddling with the microscopes like it was their first time.
Now I have to do this arduous task of drawing this instrument on two separate copies for both the respective departments. Only the Pharmacology Department hasn’t taken a class on this. But I’m more concerned if they might even take a class on Weights & Measures. Oh wait, they already did.
PS. And still many people don’t know how to use a microscope.
Even the technicians seem to know more than the professors. To tell you the truth, they are the only people who really know what they’re doing in the lab.
Medical school was fine actually but HS was horrible. Especially in Chemistry. There are so many tests on salts and other compounds and by the end of the day, you end up doing still more tests. We never really had a clue why the concentrations of the ingredients mattered, or why a particular vessel was preferred for a reaction and so much more. Heck, with such a huge volume of experiments to cover, we never really got time to develop the scientific inquisitiveness in us and didn’t learn anything in the end. Sure, everything is given in the books and if you check out the references, you’ll get to know so much more. But really what’s the point of going to school when I can learn by simply reading the textbooks at home? And really, how could you expect a youngster to pick up such a book for the sole purpose of learning? Who would go for such a boring piece of paper? This leads to the next one,
Typical Indian textbooks (government ones) generally have bad print quality and are filled with errors. Few books have a clean and pleasing look and almost no one reads them outside the country.
Take the case of Truman’s Biology, a biology textbook aimed at the Higher Secondary level. It is a big book with loads of content in a very ugly package. And it cost more than INR 500 for both the Class XI and Class XII versions. While on the other hand, the Cambridge Biological Science is a standard international textbook of the same level at a reasonable price of INR 400 for the entire HS level. The Indians are charging Indians even more than what the foreigners are asking!
Just providing the tools is not enough. Without the proper guidance, education could take a whole different direction.To quote from Roosevelt,
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.